A float tube or a kick boat offers great stealth advantages when you’re on the lake for pike, bass, panfish, or even trout. Unlike boats, float tubes have no motor vibration, no clunking around on board, and sitting closer to the surface keeps a lower profile that allows you to sneak in close to where the fish without casting shadows that might spook them. Their advantages can be for naught, however, by too much splashing and kicking, or when your casts miss the zone because of a sloppy presentation. The trick here is to have a plan of attack, move into position, and then let natural elements like currents, wind, and the sun work for you. Today, I’ve provided you with a few tips to help you do just that.
Watch the waters and plan your path accordingly. Look for signs in the water that signal activity. For instance, rings on the water are a sure sign that fish are eating bugs at the surface, while small wakes indicate baitfish chases. Furthermore, learn to identify weedlines, areas with submerged structure, shallow flats, and foamlines that suggest current breaks, for such areas often hold fish that you can’t see.
Don’t be afraid to allow the breeze push you along in the tube as you fish. Even boats drift in the breeze, which can be a great alternative to a trolling motor when you position yourself in a good path. Furthermore, when you figure out which way the wind is blowing, kick into a place upwind from your target zone. Don’t kick into casting positions, though; your feet should make long, slow, quiet kicks to slow your momentum and set you up for accurate shots as you drift along.
When fishing in a float tube, keep an eye on the angle of the sun as you plan your approach. Surface eaters—especially trout—don’t typically head straight into the sunlight when they feed, unless strong currents are flowing from that direction. Also, try to keep your shadow small when you find yourself in the sunlight.
In flat water, presentation is of the utmost importance. For this reason, it’s smart to lead your fish and your lure sit, especially if you’re using surface lures, such as flies. When you do hook up, gently kick away from the feeding zone to move the fight to open water.
If you’re kicking like a swimmer, you’re ruining your odds. Keep your feet and legs moving with purpose, but also with silence. Do all of your digging for tackle and re-rigging at a safe distance from where the fish are, too. The key with float tubes to identify and assess from a distance, prepare for your attack, and then move in slowly, using the wind and current to your advantage. Keep the tips outlined above in mind and you’ll develop into a float tube assassin so fast, the fish will be calling you “Death From Above.”